Portrait of Harvard Medical School dean Jeffrey S. Flier
Jeffrey S. Flier
Photograph by John Soares/Harvard Medical School

From Dean to Doctor

Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School since 2007, announced in November—a year after launching the school’s $750-million capital campaign—that he would step down on July 31. He steered the school through the financial crisis and recent declines in federal research funding; supported significant initiatives in systems pharmacology and biomedical informatics; and saw the new M.D. curriculum introduced during this past fall semester. After a sabbatical, Flier, an endocrinologist, will return to the faculty. A search for his successor is to be organized soon. For a full report, see “Harvard Medical School Dean Flier to Step Down.”


Campus Construction

Cambridge zoning authorities have approved Harvard’s plans to reconfigure the former Holyoke Center into the Smith Campus Center, including a pavilion along Massachusetts Avenue that will face a reconfigured public open space; less of the outdoor Forbes Plaza will be enclosed than under Harvard’s original proposal. Construction is slated to begin this spring.


Margarets Mead and Mitchell

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences has adopted a new voting procedure for electing the 18 members of its Faculty Council, a body that works closely with the dean and makes recommendations to colleagues on legislative matters. The new protocol distributes membership among senior and junior professors, and assures representation among the academic divisions. Accordingly, the explanatory paper brought before the faculty for discussion and a vote during its fall meetings populated a sample ballot with examples including, among other luminaries, Eudora Welty and Maya Angelou (humanities); Charles Darwin and Marie Curie (sciences); and Margaret Mead and Max Weber (social sciences). Ansel Adams, Copernicus, and Margaret Mitchell were among those proposed for at-large seats. At press time, it is unknown whether any would accept if nominated.


On Other Campuses

Even as Harvard received gift proceeds totaling $1.16 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, the Chronicle of Higher Education noted in a roundup, Stanford—though not in capital-campaign mode—came in second, with $928 million. Note to Harvard development officers: Stanford is now in a year-long celebration of its 125th anniversary (this coming October 1)—no doubt replete with gift opportunities.…The Yale Quantum Institute, established in October, will focus the work of 120 researchers and staff members who are exploring quantum data storage and information processing. Separately, Yale is devoting $50 million during the next five years (half from central funds and half from schools) to augment the diversity of its faculty through recruitment, appointments, and junior-faculty development.…Duke’s new Washington Duke Scholars Program will support first-generation college students and those from disadvantaged high schools; it includes enhanced financial aid, a for-credit summer bridge program, faculty and peer mentors, and seminars on wellness and networking. The fall 2016 cohort will total 30; the plan is to double the number enrolled in the future.


The $100-Million Club

J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker made a $100-million naming gift to Northwestern University’s School of Law, his law alma mater (see page 26 for information on the Harvard Law School campaign). Downtown, the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy received $100 million for an institute devoted to studying and resolving global conflict; the donor was the Pearson Family Foundation. New York University received $100 million, a naming gift, for its school of engineering from Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon; Chandrika Tandon, an NYU trustee, was a partner at McKinsey and Company, and now chairs a financial-advisory firm. Ranjan Tandon, M.B.A. ’77, founded a hedge fund that is now a private family office. Entertainment executive David Geffen gave UCLA $100 million (raising his total benefactions there to $400 million); it will fund a college-preparatory school (grades 6-12) on campus, in part to accommodate the children of faculty members—an important tool in recruitment efforts.…And, ramping up from nine digits to 10, Brown in October unveiled its $3-billion BrownTogether campaign, with $950 million already raised; at the celebration, ground was broken for a new 80,000-square-foot engineering research building, paid for with resources from the fundraising drive. MIT is expected to be among the next institutions to  announce a multibillion-dollar capital campaign.


Reverting to Red

Artist's renderings courtesy of Beyer Blinder Belle

After a brief fling with modern design, Winthrop House and architects Beyer Blinder Belle have reverted to the familiar comforts of red brick. The five-story addition to Gore Hall, scheduled for construction when the House undergoes renovation beginning this summer, is now conceived in a Neo-Georgian idiom, shown here, rather than the contrasting, contemporary scheme unveiled last winter (see “Plans for Winthrop House Renewal Include Expansion”).


Nota Bene

Rhodes roster. Five seniors have been awarded American Rhodes Scholarships, among them the vice president of the Harvard Islamic Society (Hassaan Shahawy) and the son of a Syrian immigrant (Neil M. Alacha). Their fellow winners: Grace E. Huckins, Rivka B. Hyland, and Garrett M. Lam. In addition, Yen H. Pham ’15 has received an Australian Rhodes. Read a full report


Marshall duo. Two seniors have won Marshall Scholarships for graduate study in Britain. Bianca Mulaney will attend the London School of Economics and Political Science. Rebecca Panovka is bound for the University of Cambridge. Read more in “Two Harvard Students Awarded Marshall Scholarships.”


A bookish professor. Lea professor of history Ann Blair, director of undergraduate studies in that department, has been named Pforzheimer University Professor, effective January 1. A European cultural and intellectual historian, she has worked on the history of the book (among other topics), a suitable field for a chair strongly associated with the University’s libraries; Robert Darnton, who relinquished the chair last summer, was director of the University Library.


Medical honorands. The National Academy of Medicine has elected as members Friedhelm Hildebrandt, Grupe professor of pediatrics; Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, and of medicine; Joan W. Miller, Williams professor of ophthalmology; and Kevin Struhl, Gaised professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology. 


Urbanology. The Graduate School of Design has established an office for urbanization to focus interdisciplinary applied research on contemporary cities; Irving professor of landscape architecture Charles Waldheim is director. An initial project will focus on the municipal responses to changing sea levels, in partnership with the city of Miami Beach.


Laws online. Harvard Law School has partnered with Ravel Law to digitize its entire collection of U.S. case law. The “Free the Law” project aims to make available, in a searchable database, some 40 million pages of court decisions.


International overseer. Schwartz professor of Chinese and Inner Asian history Mark C. Elliott has been appointed vice provost for international affairs, succeeding Madero professor for the study of Mexico Jorge Domínguez, who stepped down last summer. Elliott, who also directs the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, has lived in Taiwan, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and Poland, and has held academic appointments in several other countries. He speaks Chinese, Japanese, French, and Polish.


Endowment evolution. Amid changes in Harvard Management Company’s policies and practices (see page 22), Jameela Pedicini, vice president of sustainable investing for the past two years (see "Jameela Pedicini Named First HMC VP For Sustainable Investing"), departed in December to join Perella Weinberg Partners in New York. And joining two other new members of the HMC board (see “Endowment Gain—and Gaps,” November-December 2015, page 22), Amy Falls, M.P.P. ’89, has been elected a director. She is chief investment officer at The Rockefeller University.


Miscellany. Niall Ferguson, Tisch professor of history and a frequent commentator on public affairs, is leaving Harvard; as a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, he hopes to accelerate work on the second volume of his biography of Henry A. Kissinger ’50, Ph.D. ’54, L ’55. He was profiled in “The Global Empire of Niall Ferguson” (May-June 2007, page 33).…Mitchell R. Julis, J.D.-M.B.A. ’81, has underwritten the new Julis-Rabinowitz Program in Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School, named in honor of his parents.…Six sophomores declared the new theater, dance, and media program as their primary concentration by the November deadline, as did two juniors who changed their course of study earlier in the year (read about the program at "Toward Theater"). Two other students have chosen the program as their secondary concentration.…Pope professor of the Latin language and literature Richard J. Tarrant has won an international award from the Academia Nazionale Virgilia for his recent commentary on Book 12 of the Aeneid; it was conferred in Mantova, Virgil’s home town, on the poet’s birthday in October. The first recipient of the prize, in 1994, was Wendell Clausen, also a member of the classics department.…Landesa, which works to secure legal land rights for the world’s poor, has been awarded the $2-million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize; Christopher B. Jochnick, J.D. ’93, is CEO, and Roy L. Prosterman, J.D. ’58, is the organization’s founder.

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